Review Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Steel String Acoustic Guitar

With the Yamaha JR1, now you can enjoy the tone of a full-size acoustic guitar, in a size that’s easier for new players to manage. The JR1 is a compact folk guitar modeled after Yamaha’s famous FG folk guitar series. With a spruce top and a meranti body, the JR1 gives you big acoustic sound, without the big acoustic size. Young players, players with smaller hands, and anyone wanting a more travel-friendly instrument will love this guitar. In fact, you even get a gig bag with the Yamaha JR1. One of the models which established this foothold is the Yamaha JR1. Cheap and well built, this guitar has proven that quality doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Ever since it first appeared, we have included Yamaha JR1 into our list of top travel guitars. For more info about the rest of our picks, check out our list.

Body And Neck:

For the most part, Yamaha kept things simple. They’ve decided to go for a 3/4 size dreadnought body, which is many found to be a good compromise. Tonewood of choice came down to spruce for the top and meranti for the rest of the guitar. What really stands out about the JR1 is the fact that the guitar comes with a bound top. That is a feature you usually see in much more expensive guitars. The neck is a plain looking, standard design nato piece. While it’s not flashy, the neck is pretty comfortable to play. Overall, the build quality is better than we could ask for at this price.


Travel guitars traditionally have a weaker volume, and lack the low-end response. That’s one of the tradeoffs for their compact size. With Yamaha JR1, it’s a slightly different story. While the reduction in size is obvious, its dreadnought shape gives it a bit more girth compared to standard concert style travel guitars. Trebles are crisp and clean, while the mid-range does a decent job at compensating for the lower part of the frequency range. Overall, you will hardly find a better sounding travel guitar for the money.


Affordable guitars often come with shady hardware. This seems to be one aspect of the entire guitar where manufacturers like to try and reduce the cost. On Yamaha JR1, you get a rather standard set of hardware. In other words, a rosewood bridge fitted with a compensated synthetic bone saddle. The nut is also made of this material. Naturally, cheap synthetic substitutes can’t come anywhere close to a real bone, but they are a sufficient solution. Same simplicity is applied to the tuners. You’re looking at an average set of standard tuning machines. Overall, you shouldn’t expect problems with the hardware. The only thing that is recommended you do upon receiving the guitar, is to take to a shop and get a professional setup done. It will make a significant difference.

Product Specifications:

  • String Type: Steel
  • Number of Strings: 6
  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Body Style: No Cutaway
  • Left-/Right-handed: Right-handed
  • Color: Natural
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Top Wood: Spruce
  • Back & Sides Wood: Meranti
  • Neck Wood: Nato
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Inlay: Dot
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 21.25″
  • Tuning Machines: Open Chrome
  • Bridge Material: Rosewood
  • Strings: (.012-.053)
  • Case Included: Gig Bag

What’s in the Box?

  • Musicians Value GS1000 Guitar Stand
  • Snark SN5X Clip-On Guitar, Bass & Violin Tuner
  • On-Stage GK7000 Universal Guitar Care Kit


Smaller 3/4 size is easier for kids to play than a full size instrument. It is a good quality instrument for the price you are paying.


It has steel strings that some children may find uncomfortable to play.

Final Conclusion:

The best things about the JR1 is its size, its playability, and the low price, which combine to make it an ideal starter guitar for young kids who would like to learn how to play. Yamaha has done a great job designing a small guitar that has tremendous volume and tone considering its price point. Most kids would be lucky to have such a good instrument to learn on.

I arrived at Sweetwater looking for a 3/4 size guitar for my 9 yr. old son who had just started taking lessons. I originally found him a guitar at a thrift store which turned out to be JUNK. I didn’t want to buy a First Act guitar because I wanted a little something better or I felt my son would quickly loose interest in learning to play. He’s been talking about it since he was five. I went in hoping not having to spend an arm and a leg and thought the sales people would eventually talk me into getting the Little Martin or Baby Taylor but decided to give this Yamaha JR1 a try. To my surprise, Brian was very patient and even recommended this guitar over the others. In a couple years my son will be big enough to upgrade into a full size guitar, we figure we’d save the money now and get him the nicer more expensive one later. His teacher was impressed with the guitar and my son is really enjoying learning. To him, it has an expensive look and feel and since I didn’t spend hundreds of dollars, I am less anxious about him ruining the guitar. I feel it will be a good learning experience for him in learning to play and taking care of “his” guitar so that when we do take the next step, we’ll feel confident spending a little more.


I bought this guitar for my 8 yr. old grand daughter and it was the perfect size. It is well made, stays in tune, and has a pretty good sound considering the size. I enjoy playing it as well. I do recommend that you view this guitar being played on youtube so that you have an idea of what to expect sound wise, it’s not going to sound like a full size. None the less a great starter guitar for a young person.

Ayan Ayan

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